Tag Archive: restaurant


Marketing the Fringe

Here is a picture of my trusty bag of protein powder; what is the first thing you notice?

What really stands out to me (as they’re in bright bold colors and big font) are the “5lb. value size” and the “New & Improved Flavor” banners…even before I realize that it’s protein powder!

Actually, if you scan the bag, there are many references to the flavor (The top of the bag says “New & Improved BETTER TASTE!”, and, if you look closely, that medal at the bottom is also referring to the taste).

So, why so much hype about the taste? After all, the main point of the protein powder are the nutrients which cause the results, not the taste…

The answer is simple: because protein powder is protein powder. If you want people to buy yours vs. the other guy’s, you need to market the fringe.

If you walked into a store and had to choose between several identical containers of protein powder, each from different manufacturers, and they all only boasted about the nutrients in their protein formula and not about any of their peripheral traits, you’d be much more hard pressed to make a decision as to which one you would buy.

Now, the beauty here is that this same principal can be applied to a plethora of other situations:

  • What makes your fertilizer better than the competitors’ fertilizer? People expect fertilizer to be fertilizer, so saying “our fertilizer makes your lawn greener” is often a futile attempt. Is your fertilizer safer for the environment, your kids, or your pets?
  • What makes your restaurant better than your competitors’ restaurant? Again, folks expect your food to be good, so “our food is better” is seldom effective. Is your theme or atmosphere better? Is your method or approach to service better?
  • …and what makes you better than your co-workers? Your boss still expects you to get your work done, so what is it that really makes you different? Do you have a positive attitude that can’t be defeated? Do you have a knack for drawing people together? 

What is your fringe that needs to be moved to your advertising forefront?

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What about the Sprouts?!?

So, Jimmy John’s…I heard about your ‘sprouts’ issue; the only issue is how I came to find out about it.

The article which I linked to above clearly states that Jimmy John’s is dropping sprouts from the menu, but, as you can tell from their own website, sprouts are still very much on the menu.

Yes, in its current state, Jimmy John’s has sprouts on the menu, but, when you order, you do not get sprouts on your sandwich. This would lead the average consumer to say “Where are the sprouts?”, which then leads to a very awkward situation.

Jimmy John’s is currently living in a state of false promises: what you see on the menu is not what you get, and they’re also flaunting the fact that they’ve had several salmonella outbreaks linked back to their food.

To put this issue behind them, Jimmy John’s needs to simply remove the sprouts from the list of ingredients on their menu items! It’s not that hard!

Yes, there will be some costs associated with updating all of the menus in every franchise, but how have they not even updated the website yet?!? The article I linked to was from February for goodness sake!

Digitize Me!

In yet another brilliant blog post, Seth Godin reminds us that, as we advance in technology and technological solutions, we are to pave new ground and not just create a digital version of our existing analog reality.

Our new digital technologies offer us a plethora of new opportunities which was not previously possible; therefore, as Seth points out, we should not just create a parking meter with a digital interface, we should just create an entire digital system that IDs your plate when you park and bills you later for the exact amount of time you were there.

This led me to think about one of my pet peeves: KEY CHAIN LOYALTY CARDS (or even the ones that don’t go on your key chain).

Now, I have no issue with the concept of a loyalty card (from a customer or business perspective), but I have some issues with its execution.

Before the advent of digital, we had to use punch cards. “After 10 drinks, you get the 11th one free!” *punch* *punch* *punch* …but this has quickly turned into a land conquered by barcodes of many shapes and sizes.

The problem which still exists with this system is that the barcodes are still on physical loyalty cards!

As an example, a new frozen yogurt shop just opened up a few miles from me. My wife and I have gone there 3 or 4 times since it has opened, and, every time, I forget to bring my punch card. Now, they have offered to combine my cards if I bring the other ones in, but I keep on forgetting. This means, by the time I have 10 punches, I’ll also have 5-6 different punch cards.

I’m costing their business by receiving punch card after punch card (I know that it’s not a substantial expense, but everything adds up when you’re a new business), and it’s just plain wasteful.

The solution: (and this is, by no means, an amazing stretch of the imagination) Put it on my phone! I have my phone everywhere I go, and I look at it many times per day. How nice would it be for your icon to be right there on my screen? Instead of feeling anger when I can’t start my car because I have too many keychain loyalty cards in the way (or when I realize that I’m sitting at a 10 degree angle because my wallet is so fat from loyalty cards), I will most likely devote a screen on my ph0ne to “Loyalty Icons” – When I’m hungry, I’ll just swipe over to that screen and pick out a place to eat.

When I tap the icon, the barcode pops up for you to scan. It’s all linked to my account, and I can see how many more purchases before I get my free burrito without having to have you scan it for me.

As we’re creating digital solutions, we must be mindful to not drag the inefficiencies of the existing analog methods with us!!!